The lymphatic fluid helps to remove toxins and waste from the body’s tissues. Lymph fluid can build up due to certain health conditions. People with lymphedema or fibromyalgia can benefit from lymphatic drainage massages.
This article will discuss the benefits and who might find lymphatic massage useful. We also explain how one can prepare and practice it at home.
What’s lymphatic drainage?
Manual lymphatic drainage is also known as lymphatic massage. It is a special type of medical massage. It is a great way to treat lymphedema. This is when lymphatic fluid builds up in certain areas and cannot drain away.
Lymphatic massage is intended to increase the flow of lymph fluid and reduce swelling.
By massaging an area, fluid will flow freely to the parts that are congested.
There are two types: simple and manual lymphatic drainage.
A qualified professional will perform manual lymphatic drainage, while a home practitioner can do simple lymphatic drainage.
If you are interested in learning lymphatic drainage, it is important to learn from a professional. It is important to understand which area you should massage and how to apply pressure.
What are the advantages?
The body’s immune defenses are aided by the lymphatic system.
Lymphatic fluid flows through the lymph vessels that connect lymph nodes. White blood cells trap harmful particles and destroy them as it flows through lymph nodes.
Lymphatic fluid, like blood in the circulatory systems, is always moving. As lymph fluid builds up, swelling can result if it stops. This is called lymphedema by health experts.
Experts call it decongestive Lymphatic Therapy (DLT) and lymphatic massage is usually part of a treatment plan.
Lymphedema treatment with DLT includes:
- Massage for lymphatic drainage
- compression garments
- skin care
These can increase circulation and help manageTrusted Source symptoms such as:
- Mobility can be affected by swelling in the extremities (such as the arms, legs and feet).
- Other parts of the body may experience swelling, such as the breasts, chest, breast, shoulder and face, as well.
- Pain and sensational changes
- A feeling of heavyness
- Having trouble fitting into clothes
Who can Benefit?
People with lymphedema, which is caused by a buildup in lymphatic fluid, can be benefited.Trusted Source
- Cancer and lymph node removal treatments
- Filariasis is caused by an infestation of lymph nodes by a parasite carried in mosquitoes.
- Some types of vascular surgery such as vein stripping are available.
- Excision of burn scar
- Lipectomy is a type of body surgery that removes fat.
- Trauma or infection in the lymphatic system
- A buildup of fluid caused by deep vein thrombosis
- Conditions that reduce blood flow to the extremities (e.g., hands or feet) are a sign of a health condition.
Around 20% of breast cancer patients have lymphatic buildup.
A 2015 review concluded that lymphatic massage may be more effective than connective tissues massage for relieving the symptoms of stiffness or depression experienced by people with fibromyalgia.
As part of a patient’s treatment plan, a doctor might recommend lymphatic massage. Anyone who suspects they may have lymphedema should consult a doctor. A doctor should be consulted before using lymphatic massage.
This type of massage might not be safe or suitable for certain people.
How to do a Lymphatic Massage
Not only can trained professionals offer lymphatic massage but they also have the ability to teach individuals basic drainage techniques that they can use at home. Safe ways to drain lymphatic fluid can be referred to a doctor or another professional.
Most of these exercises can be done standing up, sitting down or lying down as long as you are comfortable.
These are some tips to keep in mind when you have a lymphatic massage.
- Massage movements should only affect the skin. Use gentle pressure and don’t press too hard to feel the muscles.
- Relax your hands.
- Massage infected or swollen areas only.
- Massage areas that have been treated for cancer should not be massaged.
- To flush your body, drink extra fluids after every massage, ideally 2 to 4 glasses of water.
- There should be no reddening or pain during a massage.
- Use lotions and other products only on your hands.
How to prepare
These methods stimulate the lymphatic system, and prepare the lymph nodes for more fluid.
- Lymphatic breathing
Deep breathing is like a pump, it helps to move fluid through lymph nodes and vessels. Follow these steps:
- Place your hands on the ribs with both of your hands.
- Slowly take deep, slow breaths. Feel the air moving down to your abdomen.
- Slowly exhale the air through your mouth.
- Take 5 deep breaths, then rest for 5 minutes.
- The front of your neck should be prepared
- Place the middle and index fingers of each hand just below the earlobes on either side.
- Gently slide your fingers towards the shoulders and stretch the skin. Then, release.
- Repeat five times.
- Continue to massage the neck with your hands until you are satisfied.
- Prepare the side of your neck
- Place one hand’s palm on each side of the neck, below the ears.
- Slowly move your hands back and down slowly.
- The back of your neck should be prepared
- Place your palms on the back of your neck, near the hairline.
- Gently slide your hands down the neck towards the spine.
- Get under the arms
To help lymph nodes in the arms receive lymph fluid from other parts of the body, prepare them. This movement should not be performed on any areas that have been treated for cancer. These are the steps to follow:
- Place your palm under the armpit.
- Gently move your palm up and towards the body.
- Continue with the other arm.
- Get behind your knees
- Place your hands behind your knees so that your fingers point towards each other.
- Press your hands gently into the backside of the knee, pressing them down and rolling upward.
- Do the same thing with the other knee.
Upper body massage techniques
The following techniques can be used to drain lymph fluid from your chest, shoulder, upper arm, and neck.
Massage the chest.
- Place your palm flat on the other side of the chest, just slightly above the breast.
- Move your hand over the collarbone and up to the chest.
- Continue to raise your neck until you feel the skin around the chest is tight. Then, release.
Massage the shoulders:
- Place your arm on an armrest or table.
- Place your other hand on the shoulder for support.
- Place your hand on the back of your shoulder, and move it towards the neck.
Massage the upper arm
- Place your arm on an armrest or table.
- Place the middle fingers of your other hand below the shoulder on the inside arm.
- Move your fingers towards the outer edge of the upper arm.
- Place your hand on the armpit.
- Gently move your hand towards the arm’s inner side.
Massage the entire arm
- Start at the shoulder.
- To stretch the skin upwards, use the palm.
- Then, move your hand towards the upper arm. Stretch the skin toward the shoulder.
- Continue to lower your arm while moving the skin up.
- Do not touch the wrist.
Massage the fingers
- Begin at the base of your swollen fingers, close to your palm.
- To stretch the skin of the index and thumb towards the hand, use the thumb and thumb.
- Keep going with this motion for the entire finger.
- Be sure to direct fluid towards your hand.